Mishawaka firefighter, police officer hailed as heroes for water rescue

Firefighter Mark Taylor and police officer James Bartlett // WSBT 22 photo

Two of Mishawaka's finest are being hailed as heroes. This comes after a daring water rescue on Douglas Road near the Main Street Apartments last night.

One man is alive because of the actions of firefighter Mark Taylor and police officer James Bartlett.

Taylor and Bartlett both described to WSBT what it was like jumping into that frigid water and what was going through their minds at the time.

They say in those situations you don't think, you just go.

It only took about two minutes for the Mishawaka Fire Department to reach the scene where a car veered across traffic and into a retention pond.

Taylor immediately jumped into action, diving into the water to the driver’s rescue, with officer Bartlett close behind him.

"He asked what I needed,” said Taylor. “I said the doors are locked because I already checked all the doors prior to his arrival, and he just took his elbow and smashed the back window in. The guy popped out and we all swam out together."

This was the first ever water rescue for Bartlett, who says instinct just kicked in.

"Once I exited the car, saw no one in the water and heard the lady scream ‘There's someone in the car!’ Stuff just started coming off and it was like there's nobody else here. I've got to be the one to go in and at least try."

While the driver was in the ambulance his temperature was taken. It was 89 degrees. Hypothermia sets in at 95 degrees.

Taylor and Bartlett knew the water would be cold.

"Extremely cold, like punch to the gut, taking your breath away cold,” said Bartlett. “I remember jumping in and just thinking ‘keep breathing, keep breathing, get to the car.’"

Taylor says the driver told him he was running out of air before they got there.

"I'm very thankful that Officer Bartlett was right behind me and we could work together and just get everything accomplished, because the guy said that he was on his last two breaths."

We reached out to the man who was rescued and he said he wants to thank Officer Bartlett and Firefighter Taylor for saving his life.

When we asked them if they consider themselves heroes, their response was "no." What happened is just part of their job.

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